Last month it was reported that criminal gangs were responsible for a series of boat and engine thefts in Essex and Suffolk. Many stolen engines actually end up abroad.

According to the joint insurance and police theft register an average of one motor a day was stolen in January 2014. The most common type of marine theft in the UK is outboard motors, and once gone they are very difficult to recover. Being designed to be detachable makes outboards relatively easy to steal, and their resale price makes them very attractive to thieves.

How to Protect Your Boat

It’s preferable to prevent theft in the first place as engines are so seldom successfully recovered, and being a victim of crime is going to affect your future insurance premiums. These 5 tips should help to secure your boat and give you peace of mind.

1) Fit a secure and suitable anti-theft device to your boat and make sure that your device complies with the wording of your insurance policy.

2) Consider using a branded engine cover which is fitted, instead of the factory supplied cowling. This would require the thief to buy a new cowling, possibly arousing suspicion. Making it visually obvious that your engine is secure can also deter thieves.

3) To prepare for the worst, record all serial numbers, mark the engine with your postcode and take photographs of your engine and any other expensive, removable equipment.

4) Depending on the security available at your marina you may consider investing in your own reasonably priced motion-activated surveillance camera which would photograph or record any movement.

5) Look out for your fellow boaters. Be vigilant if you see someone or something suspicious. Some smaller engines have been stolen from boats while they are afloat.

Our broker Steve agrees that it is the outboard motors that are most at risk.

“I don’t often hear about boats being broken into or stolen when berthed in a marina. The most common problem in the past has been things like outboards being stolen, often off the back of a boat.

Fambridge Yacht Haven, along with a lot of other marinas, have made considerable increases in security over the past couple of years. For example there is a closed circuit set of video cameras with recording facility. There are coded gates onto the marina pontoons and also a barrier across the road. More recently they now also have a night watchman I believe.

Advice to boat owners is to make sure that things like outboards are preferably hidden away or if not properly secured to the boat; there are some fairly substantial outboard locks available. It is amazing how many people leave their boats unlocked - even nowadays!”

If your boat is left unattended while you’re waiting for a sale let Boatshed sell it faster for you. Figures recently published by Yachtworld reveal it now takes 300 to 550 days to sell a boat. Comparative data from shows an average of only 225 days to sell a boat.

Why not let Steve and the team help you to sell a boat online?


Image: Valiant V500 RIB now £10,995

You may also like:
Free ebook: Boating in Essex / Thinking about selling your boat? / Our top blog posts of 2013 / A slideshow of a Prinz 33 Open - reduced. / Don’t miss: The Boatshed Essex Daily/ More news articles and stories.

New here? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to hear of new listings, our boat of the moment and regular boating and sailing news.

Never miss an article: Sign up and get the latest blog articles sent directly to you.